Call for checks on stadium engineer's other work

An institute is calling on people who had work undertaken by a disgraced city design engineer to get it checked.

Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ) this week announced it had expelled Anthony Stanley Major, of Invercargill, as a member because he breached their code of ethics.

Major designed and observed the construction of the original Stadium Southland, which collapsed in 2010 after a snowstorm.

Yesterday, IPENZ president Kevin Thompson said the institution encouraged anyone who had work done by Major to get it checked.

IPENZ believed Major had confined his work to Southland and Otago, but was unaware of how many structures he had worked on.

Councils had approved building consents for the structures on the basis they were designed by a qualified engineer, and this was an issue that needed to be looked at, Thompson said.

A spokesman for Major said he was a registered engineer and had met IPENZ's qualification standards to be a member but declined to comment further.

On Tuesday, the spokesman said Major was disappointed with the IPENZ disciplinary committee's decision and felt it was not a fair reflection of his culpability in this matter.

The Invercargill City Council released a statement saying it was now concerned about buildings in the city. Council chief executive Richard King said he had asked IPENZ for advice on the actions that needed to be carried out on work undertaken by Major.

In the meantime, if building owners believed there was an immediate safety issue they should contact an engineer and inform the council's building section, King said.

Council staff were now searching property records to identify projects Major had been involved with.

Once the council had received more information from IPENZ, it would communicate further with the community as to what steps building owners should take, he said.

Yesterday, IPENZ released the written decision of the disciplinary committee.

Its investigation began in July 2012 after a Building and Housing Department report into the collapse of Stadium Southland was completed.

"At the hearing he still failed to take responsibility, contradicted his earlier written submissions and tried to lay the blame on anyone other than himself," the decision says.

In describing his previous experience, Major told the committee about the Farmers Buildings and a shopping arcade.

But under questioning he said he did not feel that there was any different duty of care for public buildings over any other, the decision says.

Major had to pay IPENZ costs of $10,720.

The Southland Times